The Chinese Ethnic Group Essay Research Paper

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The Chinese Ethnic Group Essay, Research Paper Andrew Brennan The Chinese Ethnic Group Introduction The ethnic group that I have selected to discuss in this term paper is that of the Chinese. In this paper I will present information on the Asian American identity, Chinese immigration and geographical concentration as well as population growth and other aspect all in the hope to explain the Chinese diverse and growing presence here in the United States. Asian American Identity The Asian American population is booming. Between 1980 and 1990 their numbers doubled and will most likely double again by 2010(Lee, 1998). In 1997 there was an estimated 9.3 million Asians in America accounting for 4% of the total U.S. population but their influence in American society is boosted by the

fact that the majority of them live in only 4 states (Lee, 1998). Their population growth and ethnic diversifications are changing the meaning of Asian American . To most Americans, Asian mean Chinese or Japanese but in fact the term encompasses far more people such as Koreans, Filipinos, Asian Indians and Vietnamese and each of these groups is distinguished from the others by its language, religion, food, dress, customs and history. The Asian American Minority status is an important aspect of their evolving identity. Asian Americans are a racial minority in the United States because of their physical characteristics as well as ethnic origins however; their high average educational attainment, occupational status and household incomes put them ahead of the other minorities here

in the U.S. but also appear to negate the idea that they are still a disadvantaged minority. The history of Asians here in the U.S. is similar to that of other minorities in that it is marked with prejudice and discriminations (Lee, 1998) and to illustrate this we will now look at their immigration and their slow acceptance into the United States has brought this about Immigration and Settlement Before 1965 The earliest Chinese immigrants were mostly men who worked as miners, railroad workers, farmers and laborers between the 1850s and 1920s (Allen and Turner, 1988). The first wave of Chinese immigrants was attracted by the California gold rush in the 1850s. A second wave arrives to help build the transcontinental railroad. At this time the Chinese were largely a foreign born

group in the mining counties for three decades they ultimately moved into other occupations and other areas (Allen, 1988). Many Chinese went to San Francisco. There, labor gangs were organized for construction projects throughout the West and for strikebreaking anywhere in the country. The Chinese were in great demand because they worked well but accepted wages that were generally less than half what white people expected (Allen, 1988, pg 178). In Chinatowns the men set up their own places of business such as cigar and grocery shops and would hire fellow Chinese to work in them to help the Chinese community. The mining construction and agriculture jobs distributed Chinese men widely across the western states. Railroad owners like the prospect of Chinese laborers in that they

could undercut the labor demands of white workers but at the same time they were worried that the Chinese were too small to handle railroad construction (Allen, 1998). A study was then released showing that the Chinese men were peaceful, hard working and ready to learn (Allen, 1988). Soon enough the Chinese men were helping to build the railroads and digging water trenches in Nevada and other western states. News of other gold strikes in other western states also attracted many Chinese to those parts, who typically took up abandoned placer claim or worked in various laboring mill jobs connected to mining (Allen, 1988, pg 178). In 1880 the Chinese, who had been appreciated at first when the west needed labor so badly, came to be seen as threats to the wages of white workers.